VP Binay hits audit led by Heidi Mendoza
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – Vice-President Jejomar Binay on Tuesday described as harassment Commission on Audit (COA) official Heidi Mendoza's audit on several projects during his term as Makati mayor.
In an interview, Binay said he could not understand why Mendoza formed a second task force to look into programs and projects previously cleared by Makati resident auditors and special audit teams sent by COA central office during the Arroyo administration.
"Kasi COA siya, political motive naman ito eh. Hindi naman maitatangging politically motivated ito. Biruin mo naman iyon, normally, biruin mo Mayor pa lang ako pinasasagot na sa akin iyon, sinagot ko naman, tinanggap naman iyong paliwanag, heto na naman pinalalabas pang initiative," he told reporters.
"Kung maya’t maya ay binabalikan ka ng issue, hindi na yata normal iyon. Mayroon nang ibang dahilan."
Binay refused to say if Malacañang ordered the audit. He said he had received reports that a demolition job against him will continue until he is "gone by December."
"So, iyang demolition, sa Disyembre mawawala na daw ako, hindi ko alam kung anong ibig sabihin ng mawawala," he said.
Commissioner Mendoza made headlines in February 2011 after her explosive testimony before Congress on the alleged misuse of military and United Nations (UN) peacekeeping funds.
She worked for the COA for over 20 years, resigned in 2005 to work for the Asian Development Bank before resigning again and appearing in the 2011 congressional probes.
She was later appointed COA Commissioner in April 2011.
Mendoza is regarded as an expert in fraud audit investigations in government transactions.
Makati Friendship Suites
Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice-President said an audit has recently been initiated on the Makati Friendship Suites, a condotel being run by the city government, on the basis of a letter sent by "concerned employees of Makati."
“The timing of the Makati Friendship Suites audit is disturbing. And we feel strongly that the real target of the audit is the Vice President,” Binay spokesman Joey Salgado said.
The OVP official also said since early this year, the office has been receiving reports of a demolition plan against the Vice President.
Salgado said Mendoza has been “very vocal about her dislike for the Vice President and that she reportedly made her sentiments known to members of Congress and other government officials who have relayed the information to the Vice President.”
“While we respect her opinion, we would like to remind Commissioner Mendoza that our personal opinions should not color our work or professional judgment, especially in such a politically-sensitive office,” he added.